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We All Have Implicit Biases – So What Can We Do About It?

Dushaw Hockett

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Dushaw Hockett is the founder and Executive Director of Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACEs), a Washington, DC-based leadership development and community building organization dedicated to bridging the gap between what people imagine and what they achieve. At his TEDx event he argues that the way in which “we think about, talk about, and act on issues of racial bias and other difference is woefully inadequate and incomplete”. In “We All Have Implicit Biases. So What Can We Do About It?” Dushaw describes the characteristics that make a bias implicit:

  • Operate at the subconscious level
  • Run contrary to our conscious beliefs
  • Triggered through rapid and automatic mental associations between people, ideas, and objects and the attitudes and stereotypes that we hold

He also offers three reasons why we must address implicit bias and create an Implicit Bias Approach to help move the country forward:

  1. An expanded diagnosis of the Problem – if we get the diagnosis right, we can get the treatment right.
  2. Predictive and Preventive – a person can go to Project Implicit and take any of the Implicit Association Test and receive a test result that can serve as a predictor of discriminatory behavior.
  3. Reduces shame and shaming – there is a difference between guilt and shame. A big challenge in our country is that we intentionally and unintentionally shame ourselves and others.

Watch the Video

Reflection

  • After taking the Implicit Association Test, create an action plan on how you can reduce your bias.
  • Reflect on any attitudes and behaviors you attach to certain associations.

Additional Resources

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  1. Thanks Dushaw for these resources and this page. I have several other resources that I found helpful in attempting to understand this topic and talk about this topic. I highly recommend reading “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People” by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.

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  3. I really appreciated Mr. Hockett’s explanation. Being familiar with the topic this made for a deeper understanding how it works and why it’s so important to address implicit to a greater extent than explicit biases. I only wish his talk was longer, left me wanting to know more. Implicit bias should probably be mandatory training for interpreters, especially as the park service seeks to increase diversity in the national parks.
    I have taken 5 implicit association tests over this summer. I have found the results interesting for sure. Although I am somewhat skeptical on the results, it’s at least a start.

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